What’s new in food: Dining options for New Year’s Eve

CHEERS: If you’re seeking to get out on New Year’s Eve, there are plenty of tasty options across Asheville’s food scene. Photo courtesy of iStock

There’s no wrong way to celebrate New Year’s Eve. You might bid 2023 farewell in sweatpants, on the couch with a tipple of $10 sparkling wine served in a coffee mug. But if you’re looking for something a little more interactive and appetizing, there are plenty of food-filled New Year’s Eve events to choose from.

  • Capella on 9’s New Year’s Eve festivities include tunes by DJ Phantom Pantone, a Champagne toast at midnight and unlimited use of the restaurant’s photo booth. Tickets aren’t required, but Capella on 9 will automatically add a $30 cover per person to tabs after 8 p.m. All guests will be entered in a raffle for one free night at AC Hotel by Marriott Asheville Downtown as well as a raffle for a couple’s Valentine’s Day dinner and professional photography session. Capella on 9 is at 10 Broadway. For more information visit avl.mx/d82.
  • Hemingway’s Cuba will host a night of dancing, courtesy of DJ Gant, from 9 p.m.-1 a.m., and a midnight toast. Expect old-school hip-hop, top 40 and Latin music. Hemingway’s Cuba is at 15 Page Ave. Visit avl.mx/d81 for tickets ($25 per person) and more information.
  • Jargon’s celebration kicks off with music by Jason Daniello and hors d’oeuvres at The Argot Room (Jargon’s event space), followed by a prix fixe menu and live music from Vollie McKenzie and Hank Bones in the heated courtyard from 6-10 p.m. Choices for mains include tamarind chocolate-braised beef cheeks, duck Wellington, pan-roasted halibut and a vegan brassicas dish. Jargon is at 715 Haywood Road. Visit avl.mx/9hw for reservations and more information. Guests should reserve seating in the courtyard for the live music.
  • MOTHER South Slope cafe will host two seatings of a vegetarian-friendly prix fixe five-course dinner at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Wine pairing is included. MOTHER South Slope cafe is at 244 Short Coxe Ave. Visit avl.mx/d85 for tickets ($150 per person) and more information.
  • Posana’s four-course prix fixe mains include filet mignon, pan-roasted halibut, stuffed quail and vegan truffle alfredo. Don’t miss the house-made eggnog. Optional wine pairings are available for $60 per person. Posana is at 1 Biltmore Ave. Visit avl.mx/d83 for tickets ($120 per person) and more information. Call 828-505-3969 for parties of five or more.

Bad Manners Coffee is now open

Bad Manners Coffee opened Dec. 16 on Haywood Road, in the small shopping plaza alongside rEvolve Buy+Sell+Trade and Botiwalla by Chai Pani.

Owner Ashlyn Sholar has operated a coffee cart at Provisions Mercantile, a gift shop on Haywood Road, and pop-ups at events like Asheville Zine Fest for a year and a half. In her first brick-and-mortar space, Sholar will source roasts locally for now and will eventually switch up roasts every few months. Bad Manners Coffee will serve pastries from West End Bakery, as well as gluten-free treats from The GF Baker’s Booth.

The name Bad Manners is meant to be cheeky. Sholar’s mother suggested Good Manners as a potential name, but Sholar thought the opposite better aligned with her goal of an accessible coffee culture. “Coffee is usually seen as more pretentious or snobby,” she says. “My view of coffee, and how I like to present it, is judgment free. Coffee is for everyone.” Bad Manners Coffee is at 697 Haywood Road. Hours are 7 a.m.-2 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on weekends. The coffee shop is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Feast of the Seven Fishes at Gemelli

The Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian American tradition, says Gemelli chef Anthony Cerrato. He’s hosted it in Asheville for about 15 years at Strada Italiano, which he also owns, but this year he’ll hold it at Gemelli on Thursday, Dec. 21.

The seven dishes are symbolic of Catholicism’s seven sacraments, Cerrato explains. Seven fishes are not necessary; the tradition can include seven types of seafood as well. (The holiday was memorably illustrated in “The Bear”’s chaotic Christmas episode, “Fishes.”)

Gemelli’s Feast of the Seven Fishes will serve two courses, at $55 per person. The first course is an antipasti trio: a citrus and arugula salad with white anchovy, crab arancini with lemon basil aioli and fried calamari with pomodoro sugo (a San Marzano tomato sauce). The crab arancini is his grandma’s recipe, Cerrato notes.

The second course is saffron ravioli filled with mascarpone, wild-caught sea trout and fresh herbs in seafood stock with mussels, shrimp and clams, served with garlic ciabatta. The ravioli is made in-house and is gluten-free, he says.

The feast is traditionally held on Christmas Eve, but  Cerrato decided to close on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so staff can spend time with their families. Gemelli is at 70 Westgate Parkway. Visit avl.mx/d87 for reservations and more information.

Charcuterie board workshop

Did you know there is an art to constructing the perfect charcuterie board? Learn from Asheville Charcuterie Co. masters at a holiday-themed charcuterie board workshop, Thursday, Dec. 21, 6:30-7:30 p.m., at Catawba Brewing Co.

An Asheville Charcuterie Co. cheese stylist will demonstrate how to choose complementary meats, nuts, fruits and cheeses, the proper way to fold a salami and (of course) the best angles for showing off your charcut skills on Instagram. Catawba Brewing Co. is at 32 Banks Ave. Visit avl.mx/d80 for tickets ($50 per person) and additional information.

Christmas eats at Red Stag Grill

Sometimes the greatest gift of the holiday season is not having to cook a meal at all. On Christmas Eve, Red Stag Grill inside the Grand Bohemian Hotel will offer an a la carte, four-course dinner for $115 per person, which includes a complimentary glass of Champagne. Then on Christmas Day, the restaurant will host an a la carte brunch from 6:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and a Christmas dinner from 5-10 p.m. Red Stag Grill is at 11 Boston Way. Visit avl.mx/d84 for reservations for Christmas Eve dinner.

Celebrate 2024 in the 828 with $8.28 cocktails

Ukiah Japanese Smokehouse will ring in 2024 with a New Year’s Day brunch from noon-5 p.m. In case you’re getting a later start after a night of partying, a dinner menu will be served from 5-9 p.m. Ukiah will serve craft cocktails for $8.28 each throughout the day, and one diner will also win a $200 gift card to the restaurant. Ukiah Japanese Smokehouse is at 121 Biltmore Ave. Visit avl.mx/d86 for reservations.


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About Jessica Wakeman
Jessica Wakeman is an Asheville-based reporter for Mountain Xpress. She has been published in Rolling Stone, Glamour, New York magazine's The Cut, Bustle and many other publications. She was raised in Connecticut and holds a Bachelor's degree in journalism from New York University. Follow me @jessicawakeman

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